Tian Lin

Understanding the leadership schemas of domestic followers in Chinese sports context

Tian graduated from Loughborough University London with a degree in MSc Sport Business Innovation, and joined the Institute for Sport Business as a PhD candidate with a research interest in leadership in a Chinese sports context.

Tian has an undergraduate degree in BEng Engineering Mechanics and Aerospace Engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. He obtained his first Masters degree from the University of Leeds in MSc International Marketing Management before studying for an MSc in Sport Business Innovation at Loughborough University London in 2016.

PhD research description

Sports can be considered as a “living laboratory” for conducting organizational research because it simplifies real-life scenarios by precisely defining rules and boundaries of the action, as well as clearly distinguishing winning from losing. However, leadership research in the sports context is still somewhat predominated by leader-centric approaches and theories that undervalue the contribution of followers. Therefore, Tian's research investigates sports leadership from the followers’ perspectives.

Another area of Tian's leadership research is the role of culture. The cultural generalizability of many leadership theories conceptualized in Western societies has been testified during recent years. However, followers' ideas about effective leaders in Asian societies, which may be differentiated from the leadership schemas of followers in Western societies due to the different cultural backgrounds, are still under-researched. Tian's current research, therefore, plans to utilize implicit leadership theories, which represent cognitive structures or schemas specifying traits and behaviors that followers expect from leaders, to understand leadership from the followers’ perspectives in Chinese sports context, which is anticipated to address cultural and contextual issues in current leadership research.

PhD supervisors

Tian is studying for their PhD under the supervision of Professor James Skinner  and Dr Steve Swanson within the Institute for Sport Business.

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